Transportation headlines, Monday, March 9

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Today’s Zocalo Public Square profile of a Metro rider: You talk, I listen; Olympic Boulevard to Mission Road.

ART OF TRANSIT: Guide dogs on a training day on the Gold Line in Pasadena.

ART OF TRANSIT: Guide dogs on a training day on the Gold Line in Pasadena.

Report: closing the 710 freeway gap would take years and cost billions (L.A. Times)

Environmental report on 710 freeway gap: tunnel would ease traffic more than light rail (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Busway option to close 710 freeway gap would cost five times early estimate (KPCC)

As expected, the release of the SR-710 North Study’s draft environmental document on Friday generated plenty of media coverage. The Valley Trib article dives the deepest into the local politics in the western San Gabriel Valley, with some cities having campaigned for the gap to be closed and others against any kind of freeway extension. A freeway tunnel between Alhambra/El Sereno and Pasadena is one of five alternatives studied. The other four are light rail, bus rapid transit, traffic signal and intersection improvements and the no-build option.

The best evidence yet that real-time arrival info boosts transit ridership (CityLab)


It’s obvious why transit riders love real-time information: they can plan their trip and shed the psychological angst that comes with waiting for the next bus or train. But the question for cities is whether or not people love it enough to choose transit over another mode. In other words, is real-time data just a nice way to keep existing riders happy, or is it an investment that will pay off in brand new riders over time?

A new study of a real-time bus arrival program in New York City offers an encouraging (if qualified) answer: it does generate new trips, though mostly for high-traffic routes. Candace Brakewood of the City College of New York and collaborators analyzed ridership patterns following the city’s roll-out of its Bus Time website. In a new paper they report a measurable jump in ridership (around 2 percent) that works out to upwards of $6.3 million in new revenue over the three-year study period:

Interesting to see that there is some data about this, although I think real-time arrival info is a common sense thing that all transit agencies should pursue. Metro offers real-time bus and train arrival info at or though the Go Metro app for Android phones or iPhones.

Texas lawmaker pushes bill banning federal money for transit (Austin Examiner) 

The bill by State Senator Bob Hall would prohibit the Federal Transit Administration from providing federal grants to new transit projects such as the light rail lines that have been built or are under construction in Houston and Dallas. I doubt the bill will get much traction in Texas…then again, it’s Texas. It certainly wouldn’t help local transit agencies that need federal dollars to build big projects. Metro, for example, has secured $670 million federal New Starts grant for the Regional Connector and $1.25 billion for the Purple Line Extension’s first section (the agency is also pursuing  and is pursuing another $1.1-billion New Starts grant for the Purple Line Extension’s second phase.

Then again, if Texas doesn’t want those kind of funds, I’m sure someone else would like them 🙂

Plans move forward on bridge connecting Glendale Narrows and Griffith Park (Glendale News-Press)

The 300-foot bridge — not for cars, but for pedestrians and cyclists — would help connect existing parks and trails in the area around the river’s big turn to the south. More info here about the Glendale Narrows RiverWalk project.

Are tar sands going the way of the dodo? (OnEarth)

The magazine for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council has compiled a list of the many tar sands oil projects that are likely not going forward. Tar sands are an especially dirty way of extracting oil from the ground, resulting in far more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional drilling for crude oil.

Video: How to drive without texting (The Atlantic) 

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Things to listen to on transit: In a particularly funny case on the John Judge Hodgman podcast, a wife asks the Judge to stop her husband from purchasing more new socks. The hubby currently has 160 pairs or so.

Things to listen to on transit2: The Austin 100 stream was compiled by NPR’s music staff and features songs from 100 different acts that will appear at South by Southwest  in Austin this month. Some pretty good stuff in here although I hadn’t heard of most of the bands.


6 replies

  1. Of course, by today’s standards real time transit maps isn’t high-tech wonder gadget as Uber and Lyft apps can do the same thing which shows the closest Uber and Lyft car to where you are on a map and can be done without billions of taxpayer funding.

    Real time transit maps is already to be expected in this day and age; it’s nothing fancy. If you don’t have it by now, it’s like saying you don’t have a computer at home and have no e-mail.

  2. Is there someone supposed to be maintaining the Go Metro app? A few weeks ago, the entire Green, Blue, and Gold lines disappeared from the map on Android version. This means the official app doesn’t give you realtime arrivals to these lines. Checking the Play Store reviews, ~50% of reviews since the v3.0 update are 1 star, mentioning this issue.

    I’ve reported this and other issues to, which is the app’s listed “report a bug” address, but received no response. There’s been 0 updates since initial 3.0 release, despite this bug and others.

    Can you direct us to a person who can address this issues?

    • Hey Fintan;

      I’ll send your comment over to the tech team asap.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi Fintan;

      The tech folks say that they are working on an update for the Go Metro app that should be complete soon. One complication in recent weeks has been outages on the NextBus/Nextrip servers, which in turn has caused problems that have included slowing the app down or causing it not to show the data.

      Thanks for your patience with this!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • I think Metro should make that their new marketing slogan: “Thanks for your patience with this!”. I’ve been trying to get a bike locker at an Expo Station for the past two months. First Metro decided to take over the bike locke program from the bike coalition. Then they said that I would have to wait for them to complete the transition in February before I could submit a request for a locker. Then, at the end of February, when they still weren’t done with their transition, their only visible response was to update their web site by removing their phone number!!! (By the way, that number is 213-922-2660.) At least they answer the phone now.